Is the Go Boston Card Worth it?

Is the Boston Go Card Worth it?

Update: I also have a post Is the Boston CityPASS Worth it? you may want to check out to compare the too!

I get asked a lot from Boston visitors, “Is the Go Boston Card worth it?” and I always give a lame answer of “it depends”.

However, although my answer is very vague, it really depends on what time of traveler you are and what things you want to do in Boston and what Boston tourist attractions you want to see.

If you are not familiar with the Go Card by Smart Destinations, it basically is an attraction card you pay a flat fee for and then you can get into multiple attractions for free with the card for a certain number of days. I used a similar card from a different company (but same concept) when I was in Rome, and it was really worth it since we did a lot of attractions in a small time period and we were able to skip lines with the card, which was awesome!

In the post today, I wanted to clarify my vague “depends” answer and hope to help you figure out if the Go Card is worth it for your next vacation. The Go Card is available in many different cities; however, I wanted to strip down the Go Boston Card since I wanted to help those doing Boston on a budget.

I wanted to throw this out there before we begin that I am an affiliate partner of Go Card, so I do receive a small cut if you do make a purchase through my affiliate link. However, I am a budget blogger, and won’t try to sell you on anything that you do not need since the goal of this post (and my blog) is to help you save as much money as possible! I hope you will find this post helpful whether you buy the card or not.

If you are looking to buy the Go Card for another city, my best advice is to figure out what you would like to see in the city and how much each attraction costs. Also, find out if there are any other discounts through your AAA card, corporate or non-profit associations, museum free days, etc. and add up the cost of the attractions and compare with the number day pass you need.

There are so many attractions that do not take up the entire day so you can cover multiple tourist attractions in Boston in a day. Below is the list of attractions covered in the Go Boston Card and the full-price tickets. Please note that I pulled the prices directly from the attraction’s website (and linked directly to the attraction’s website), but the majority of prices were the same price advertised by Go Boston Card anyway.

I also shared any major discounts from Boston attractions if you decide to go with the go card or not. I didn’t include (m)any discounts for the suburbs because I wasn’t sure on the top of my head and this post was already getting ridiculously long and time consuming, so there may be some major discounts I missed for those attractions. For a list of all discounts I could possibly find in the Boston area, check out my Boston Discount Attractions page.

Here’s the list of all attractions covered in the Go Boston Card (Rates below as of June/2014):

Museum of Fine Arts: $25 for adults; $10 for youth 18 and younger; $23 for seniors and students
Tip: Suggested donation on Wednesday nights after 4pm and free the first weekend of every month for Bank of America and Merrill Lynch Cardholders. Youth 18 and under are also free when school isn’t in session.

New England Aquarium: $24.95 for adults; $17.95 for children 3-11; $22.95 for Seniors 60+
Tip: Massachusetts Residents can receive free admission (with advanced reservation) for up to 4 people September-June with Boston Public Library Card and College Students and Charlie Card holders can receive $2 off admission

Museum of Science: $23 for adults; $20 for children 3-11 and $21 for seniors $60
Tip: Massachusetts Residents can receive free admission (with advanced reservation) with Boston Public Library Card

Hop-on/off Trolley: 2-day pass: $42 for adults; $10-20 for children 3-12
Note: The Hop-on/off trolley pass is only valid for two consecutive days

Fenway Park Tour: $17 for adults; $14 for seniors and $12 for children 3-15, students and military
Tip: You can save $1 with your AAA card if you do not participate in the Go Boston Card

Boston Children’s Museum; $14 for adults; $14 for children age 1-15
Tip: $1 on Friday nights from 5-9pm plus many other ways to save

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum: $15 for adults; free for 18 and younger; $12 for 65+; $5 for college students
Tip: There’s a lot of different discounts which can be found here

Institute of Contemporary Art: $15 for adults; Free for 17 and younger; $13 for seniors; $10 for students
Tip: Free on Thursdays from 5-9pm and Free for Families (with children under 12) the last Saturday of every month

JFK Library & Museum: $14 for adults; $10 for ages 13-17; $12 for Seniors over 62 and students
Tip: Save $2 with your AAA card

Franklin Park Zoo: $17.95 for adults; $11.95 for children ages 2-12; $14.95 for seniors 62+
Tip: Pay kids price the first Saturday of every month from 10am to 12pm

Sam Adams Brewery Tour: This is free and open to the public, no Go Boston card needed (suggested donation welcome)

Charles Riverboat Cruise: $15 for adults; $8 for children under 12; $13 for seniors, students and military
Note: Seasonal from May to October 13, 2014. Reservations are suggested in advance

Boston Movie Mile Walking Tour: $24 for adults; $16 for children
Note: This is seasonal from April to October

Boston TV & Movie Sites Tour: $40 for adults; $24 for children (same company as above?)

Mary Baker Eddy Library: $6 for adults; $4 for Youth 6-17, students, military and seniors 62+
Note: Closed on Mondays

Otis House Museum: $8 for adults; $4 for children; $9 for seniors; $5 for students
Tip: Free for Boston Residents (Closed on Mondays & Tuesdays)

Boston Bike Rental: $33.60
Note: Advanced reservations are required and you must identify yourself as a Go Card holder to get this offer

Boston’s Tall Ships: $30 for adults; $19 for kids
Note: Only available from June 5-September 22 and closed for Harborfest from June 28-July 6

Swan Boats of Boston: $3 for adults; $1.50 for ages 2 to 15; $2.50 for seniors
Note: This is a seasonal attraction from April through September 21, 2014

Freedom Trail Walking Tour: $12 for adults and $6 for children
Note: This is a seasonal attraction from May to October. However, you can easily take a free self-guided walking tour anytime (although you may not get into some attractions in the evening).

Old South Meeting House: $6 for adults; $1 for ages 6-17; $5 for seniors 62 and older
Tip: AAA members and Charlie Card holders can save $1 on admission; Combination tickets are available too

Old State House: $10 for adults; $8.50 for seniors and students
Tip: FREE for Visitors with disabilities, All Military (active and veterans) and Youth 18 and younger

Paul Revere House: $3.50 for adults; $1 for ages 5-17; $3 for college students and seniors

USS Constitution Cruise: $18.90 for adults; $14.70 for children
Tip: Forget the cruise around the Harbor, and get on board the USS Constitution for free (with suggested donation) as a freedom trail stop. Just remember to bring your ID as you will be going through a military checkpoint.

Provincetown Ferry II: $46 for adults (roundtrip); Free for children under 12 (must have reservation)
Note: The Provincetown Ferry II ONLY sails on Saturdays in July and is 3 hours one way. The Provincetown Fast Ferry is more popular and is 90 minutes one way with daily departures. It is an additional $67 a person if you want to aboard the Fast Ferry (savings of $21) with your Go Card.

Cambridge

MIT Museum: $10 for adults; $5 for 17 and younger, students and seniors; free for kids under age 5
Tip: Free the last Sunday of every Month September-June and free the first weekend of every month for Bank of America and Merrill Lynch cardholders

Harvard Walking Tour: $8.95 for adults; $6.95 for children
Tip: There is another Harvard Walk tour available to the public which is directly through Harvard at no cost.

Harvard Natural History Museum: $12 for adults; $8.50 for children 3-18; $10 for non-Harvard College students and Seniors 65+
Tip: Free for Harvard ID holders, military members from Memorial Day to Labor Day and free for Mass Residents on certain days and more.

Peabody Museum of Archaeology: $12; $8 for ages 3-18; $10 students and seniors
Tip: Free for Harvard ID holders, military members from Memorial Day to Labor Day and free for Mass Residents on certain days and more.

North of Boston

Peabody Essex Museum (Salem, MA): $18 for adults

House of Seven Gables (Salem, MA): $12 for adults; $8 for children

Salem Witch Museum (Salem, NH): $9.50 for adults; $6.50 for ages 6-14; $8 for senior citizens

South of Boston

Plymouth Walking Tour (Plymouth, MA): $10 for adults; $8 for children

Plimoth Plantation/Mayflower; $25.95 for adults; $15 for ages 5-12 and $23,95 for seniors (Prices for Plimouth Plantation Only)
Note: There are combination ticket prices available if you are doing multiple attractions in Plymouth

Marthas Vineyard Ferry: $45 for roundtrip
Note: This is seasonal from May to October and is for a roundtrip for the same day (limited ferry schedule).

Nantucket Ferry: $45 for roundtrip
Note: This is seasonal from May to October and is for a roundtrip for the same day (limited ferry schedule but more options than MV ferry).

Hyannisport Harbor Cruise: $16 for adults; $8 for children
Note: This is seasonal from May to October

Cape Cod Canal Cruise (Wareham, MA): $16 for adults; $8 for children
Note: This is seasonal from May to October

Cape Cod Bike Rental (Brewster, MA): $25

Sandwich Glass Museum (Sandwich, MA): $6 for adults; 1.25 for children

Cape Cod Maritime Museum (Hyannis, MA): $5 for adults

John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum (Hyannis, MA): $8 for adults

West of Boston

Old Sturbridge Village (Sturbridge, MA): $24 for adults; $8 for children

Liberty Ride (Lexington, MA): $25 for adults; $10 for children

Louisa May Alcott House (Concord, MA): $9 for adults; $5 for children

Buckman Tavern (Lexington, MA): $7 for adults; $5 for children

Old Manse House (Concord, MA): $8 for adults; $5 for children

Munroe Tavern (Lexington, MA): $7 for adults; $5 for children

Hancock Clarke House (Lexington, MA): $7 for adults; $5 for children

Concord Museum (Concord, MA): $10 for adults; $5 for children

Six Flags New England: $59.99 for adults; $49.99 for kids
Tip: Buy online to save money or look for discount tickets at local convenience stores and more. Also, a thrill pass with unlimited visits is the same price as a full-price ticket and is valid until September.

The first thing I would do if I was visiting Boston is I would make a list of must sees and must dos. I would then look at the list above, figure out the cost of each and start planning a Boston Itinerary. For example, if the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) or Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) is on your list, would they fit well on Wednesday night or Thursday night (respectively) when they are free to the public?

After you have your Boston must sees and sample Boston itinerary, I would recommend adding up the cost of attractions and then the number of day pass you would need. If you are over the cost of the Go Boston Card then the pass would be a good deal, but if not, it wouldn’t be a good deal for you.

So how much is the Go Boston Card anyway?

1 Day Pass: $52.99 for adults 13+, $36.99 for children 3-12,
2 Day Pass: $74.99 for adults, $$52.99 for children
3 Day Pass: $121.99 for adults, $80.99 for children
5 Day Pass: $167.99 for adults; $116.99 for children
7 Day Pass: $196.99 for adults; $135.99 for children

Keep in mind that multi-day Go Card passes often go sale so you may be able to pay less per ticket. (I notice that sales tend to happen on long holiday weekends so if you haven’t seen a sale recently and have time before your trip, check on a long weekend if you can.) Sales will be advertised right on the pricing page and will have red text with lower prices!

Occasionally there will also be promo codes available to help reduce costs, but right now the only promo code I know of for Boston is $10 off 2 Day Go Boston Card with promo code BOS10OFF2.

Also, with the 3-day, 5-day and 7-day Boston Pass, you have the option of picking from one of the following attractions:

  • Boston Red Sox Ticket for lower Bleacher, outer grandstand, or standing room with VIP early access 2.5 hours before first pitch; $30 value for tickets
    (Tip: Red Sox Tickets start at $10 + service fees and are on a tier pricing system without VIP access. Check out my Ways to Save at Fenway Park for tips and tricks to save on Red Sox Tickets and more) 
  • New England Aquarium Whale Watch; $47.25 for adults and $36.75 for children (Note: This is a seasonal attraction and reservations are recommended.)
  • Gray Line Boston Tours; $60 for adults and $30 for children
  • Boston Duck Tour; $35.68 for adults and $24.14 for children (Tip: Also seasonal but you can find Discounts for Boston Duck Tour Tickets starting at $23.16 in season!)

These are great attractions to add to your pass if you do purchase a multi-day ticket of 3-days or more. There are also a few different ways to save on Whale Watching tickets from other companies throughout Massachusetts too if you are interested in a Boston whale watch during your visit.

There is also another option (I know at least with the Boston card) to pick your attractions and build your own pass. This will give you the option to pay and see exactly what you want. Depending on what you want to visit in Boston and what discounts you may qualify for, this may be a good option for you.

Everyone travels and sightsees differently, so it is really hard to say if Smart Destination’s Go Card is worth it or not. You really need to make a list and break it down to figure out if it makes sense for you.

I hope you found this post helpful– Let me know what you decide in the comments below and let me know if you have any specific questions!

For more information or to purchase a go card, please head here.

If you did find this post helpful, you may like Is The Boston CityPASS Worth It?, Boston Visitor Guide, Boston Discount Attractions and Free Things to Do in Boston. Happy traveling!

As previously mentioned, I am an affiliate partner of Go City card and do receive a small percentage if you make a purchase through my link (thank you!) at no additional cost to you. If you have any questions, please read my disclosure policy.

 

Comments

  1. says

    This is a great list, great summary. We contemplated for a long time whether the Boston Card would be worth for our trip to Boston, but decided against it. Mostly because on top of sightseeing and visiting major attractions, we also like to sleep in, or sit and people watch for a long time if the weather is nice, so we didn’t want to feel like we HAD to go do things. When I come back to Boston on a less beautiful weekend, I will get the Boston card and DO ALL THE THINGS. I’ll make sure to refer back to this post :)
    Kate recently posted…Boston GetawayMy Profile

    • says

      It’s definitely good for people that like to do everything! Very impressed that you are able to get downtown for less than $100! Awesome :) Hope you had a great visit!